The Council is the executive governing body of the University with particular managerial responsibilities for finance and the University estate, and also a more general remit to oversee the conduct of University business in conjunction with the Senate. The Council, which meets up to five times each year, is chaired by Sir David Normington, and has a full membership of 26, a majority of whom are independent members drawn from the professions, business and industry, and local authorities, who bring a range of experience and professional expertise to the work of the University.
The Statement of Primary Responsibilities of the Council outlines the powers and responsibilities of the Council derived from the University Statutes. You may also wish to look at the Code of Practice for Corporate Governance which summarises the decisions taken by the University Council relating to corporate governance.
In order to carry out its responsibilities, and ensure the necessary dialogue with the Senate, the Council has specialist standing committees, principal amongst which are the Finance and General Purposes Committee, the University Estate Committee and the Audit and Risk Committee. The detailed work of the Council is mostly carried out through these standing committees and a range of Council sub-committees, usually with a mixture of independent and academic membership, which have an important role in overseeing the conduct of specific areas of business.
The Senate is the supreme academic authority of the University. Whilst the Council is ultimately accountable for the efficient management and good conduct of all aspects of the University's operation, within that the Senate has responsibility for the academic activities of the University including all aspects of the operations of the University that have a bearing on teaching, research and the welfare, supervision and discipline of students.
The Senate is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor and has a full membership of 46 elected from the Faculty Boards and the Assembly. Membership also includes three representatives from the Students' Union. The Senate meets up to five times each year and the greater part of its business arises from reports from the range of Senate committees responsible for specific academic matters e.g. Academic Quality and Standards Committee, Board of Graduate Studies. The Senate also oversees the work of the four Faculty Boards as well as the Research Centres and Institutes.
The Senate Steering Committee, commonly referred to the Steering Committee, comprises the Vice-Chancellor and President; the Provost; the Registrar; the Group Finance Director; the Pro-Vice-Chancellors / Academic Vice-Presidents; the Chairs of the Boards of the Faculties; a non-management academic member of the Senate; and the President of the Students' Union. The Committee meets on a biweekly basis during term time and as required during vacations. The Committee's main responsibilities are to be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the University strategy, including the coordination of strategic planning and resourcing, and the monitoring of key performance metrics, on behalf of the Senate and the Council.
The Boards of the Faculties of Arts, Science, Engineering and Medicine and Social Sciences are headed by appointed Chairs, appointed on an annual basis but with the expectation that a Chair will serve for a minimum of three years. Membership of each of the Faculty Boards is drawn from representatives of academic departments and research centres within each Faculty. The Faculty Boards are responsible to the Senate for academic matters within the Faculty, i.e. teaching, research, curricula and examinations.
The Assembly of the University has the power to:
- appoint six members of the University's academic staff to the Senate.
- make recommendations to the Council or to the Senate on any matter relating to the University, including any matters referred to it by the Council or by the Senate.